THE FLASH Recap “Back to Normal”
By Justin Carter
There’s no denying that the ending of last week’s episode of The Flash wasn’t exactly the team at their smartest. They had Zoom more or less in the palm of their hands, and giving him Barry’s speed with zero double cross just seemed like a dumb move. Thankfully, it’s something that Harry is very eager to point out. While it makes for an entertaining opening, it’s more or less the only highlight of an otherwise dull episode.
With Barry de-powered, it’s not all that surprising that a meta-human shows up to cause some trouble. Our baddie of the week is Griffin Grey, an 18-year-old given super strength. Unfortunately, said super strength also causes him to age at a fast rate. It’s not exactly fun being a superhuman Benjamin Button, so Grey kidnaps Harry because he thinks Harry is Earth-1 Wells and demands a cure.
Grey is uninteresting as a villain; there’s no real personality to him beyond just being pissed off about his condition, and there’s nothing about his old life that can’t be summarized with “was going to graduate, marry high school sweetheart.” The team’s big plan is to watch him age himself to death, which you think they would sort of have a baseline for when it gets to be too much. There’s a definite point where Grey was old enough that Joe or Cisco could’ve easily knocked him out to keep him from dying (and conveniently reverting back to a teenager upon death).
Grey happens to kidnap Harry at the worst possible moment, as he finally managed to track down his daughter Jesse after she left town a while back. She still wants nothing to do with him for killing a guy to save her, and Grey pointing out the failures of a Wells from a different Earth (who isn’t even this Earth’s Wells to begin with) doesn’t sit right with Harry. Of course, once she helps Team Flash save her dad, she realizes that her being kidnapped by Zoom more or less justifies his actions and forgives him. It’s something that the show could’ve done back before she left, so here it doesn’t quite land with the emotional impact that it should.
Earth-2, meanwhile, is still continuing its run at being the “worst place to live” with Hunter now having kidnapped Caitlin and keeping her in his prison. She meets her double Killer Frost, who’s still alive pretty much only because she looks like her Earth-1 version. Danielle Panabaker snarking to Danielle Panabaker is funny enough, which makes it disappointing that Frost double crosses Caitlin once they break out and gets killed by Zoom for it. There’s not much else to be learned from these moments, aside from Hunter more or less falling into a cycle of abuse that his father instilled in him. And now it looks like he’s done putting Earth-2 through the wringer (allegedly, since during our trip there, it didn’t look anything close to conquered), he’s decided to expand his reach and take over all Earths, starting with Earth-1. Which is really the only huge takeaway from this week’s episode.
“Back to Normal” is a filler episode, that much is certain, but this episode doesn’t really fill so much as it does just occupy an hour of time.
- Wally shows up to thank the Flash, and I honestly would be surprised if he doesn’t just admit he knows Barry’s secret because he used common sense.
- On that same note, Harry decides that the best way to get Barry’s powers back would be to recreate the particle accelerator explosion. And keep in mind, this is just before he’s taken a verbal beating from someone who blamed him for an accelerator explosion he didn’t even create.
- “My little Jesse Quick.” Ugggggggggggh.
- Jesse has five majors, which is apparently normal on Earth-2. But as Iris puts it, “that ain’t normal anywhere.”
- Hunter says he’s conquered Earth-2, but again, that’s definitely not the impression the show’s really given. If anything, given the relative peacefulness of E2 Central City, it feels more like he just thinks he’s conquered it.